Do you like giant humanoid robots? Otherwise known as Mechs? I do. Bipedal ones, with lasers and rockets and maybe jetpacks. Everyone liked them in the nineties. There was Bettletech, a great sci-fi universe. There were games like MechWarrior and MechCommander, books and animation series.
Right now, the market isn’t looking great for giant humanoid robots. Japanese still like them, but the western world has forgotten all about its Mechs.
That’s a great shame. I remember how it felt back in the days of MechWarrior 3, to construct your own walking tank. Will there be enough power? Will the legs carry the weight? Will it shoot 14 lasers at once without blowing up? Piloting your robot was half the fun – it’s the process of engineering your own unique Mech that set the game apart from the competition.
The story of MechWarrior series begins in 1989, on MS-DOS, Apple Macintosh and SNES. The first game featured then-amazing 3D vector graphics, and was based on three elements of play: exploration, Mech acquisition/building, and battle simulation. It was set in the famous Battletech universe, with its mix of science fiction and medieval themes.
The following games built up the solid reputation of the franchise. MechWarrior 2 received Origins Award as the Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Computer Game of 1995, MechWarrior 3 – Best Action Computer Game of 1999.
After the release of MW4: Vengeance (2001), FASA, the developer behind the series, was sold to Microsoft and ceased its active operations. Microsoft released MW4: Mercenaries in 2002, and then published two of its own games in the new MechAssault series, developed by Day 1. Unfortunately both of them were XBox exclusives. Other than that, the franchise remained dormant. And then, there was this:
Work on new MechWarrior was announced in 2009. It is (or at least was) developed by Piranha Games (now employing talents from FASA) and Smith & Tinker. The new title will reboot the franchise, proudly carrying the name of the first game. And with Unreal Engine 3, it looks like it means business. We are promised multiplayer, and maybe even four-player co-op. The game will be released for both XBox 360 and PC.
You have to admit, the trailer looks good.
Except maybe it’s just all a big hoax. There haven’t been any news about the game since 2009, right after the developers ran into some legal issues. These screens and the video are the only proof that new MechWarrior was ever in the works. Maybe the project was frozen, or worse, abandoned.
Piranha Games website still displays a banner for the upcoming game. Smith & Tinker, however, “develops and distributes widely appealing mobile games for today’s connected generation”. The blog and twitter account of the Piranha Games developer, Bryan Ekman, hints heavily that a game involving Mechs is being developed. But that, too, may be a part of an urban legend.
In any case, while waiting (or not) for new MechWarrior, while not play MW4: Mercenaries, which recently became free to download? It weighs just 1,7GB, features all your favourite Mechs and comes with access to dedicated servers for online play. A gift for all those who appreciate the beauty of giant humanoid robots. Get it here.
Update: information provided by MwHighlander confirms that a new MechWarrior game will be announced in October. Wohoo! Here at KitGuru, we will keep our eyes and ears open, and tell you as soon as it happens. You can follow BryanEkman and Russ_Bullock on Twitter to stay in the loop.